Follow-up: 600 naked PETA protesters in Pamplona!

Back on June 19 we wrote that this was coming up:

Animal campaigners go nude to protest Pamplona bull run

PAMPLONA, Spain (AFP) – Some 600 animal-rights campaigners, all in the nude, brought the northern Spanish city of Pamplona to a virtual standstill as they protested against the nine-day running of the bulls festival.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) organized a nude run to highlight the group’s opposition to the “cruelty” of the traditional festival, starting Wednesday, which sees dozens of bulls stampede through the streets after revelers who try to outrun them.

“There were 600 of us. We got our kit off,” run coordinator Shaun Gifford told AFP.

“Four years ago when we first tried it, it was just 20 brave souls taking on the whole bullfighting scene.”

600 naked people protesting! Yow. Sounds like fun. Wish I’d been there. Don’t you?

Visit the Running of the Nudes Web site for additional information, pictures, and video.

Originally published July 6, 2005

AANR wins right to challenge VA law against juvenile camps

4th Circuit reinstates juvenile nudist camp’s free-speech lawsuit

RICHMOND, Va. — A federal appeals court Tuesday reinstated a lawsuit challenging a 2004 Virginia law requiring parental supervision at a nudist camp for juveniles.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the American Association for Nude Recreation can pursue its claim that the law violates its free speech rights, crimping its ability to spread its nudism philosophy.

There’s a fair amount of a story behind this, but we’ll leave the telling for another time. This intervention of the appellate court is a perfect example of our judicial system at it’s best. We desperately need an independent judiciary to protect the rights of minority points of view against the uninformed prejudices of the majority. We have a First Amendment that guarantees free speech for a reason, and we need the courts to ensure that this guarantee is respected.

Although the story doesn’t mention it, AANR was assisted in this legal effort on behalf of naturists by the ACLU. Of course, we are well aware that many “conservatives” hate the ACLU. For example, there’s this from last year:

Only days ago, the ACLU argued that the potential for abuse be damned; a Virginia nudist group has the right to open a nudist camp for young children. They argue to deny same is a violation of the group’s constitutional right to privacy.

Logical minds would be hard pressed to imagine any scenario in which the “Framers” of the Constitution intended for said right to be applied to such intent.

The ACLU argues, “So for these kids, being around other naked kids [and adults] is something perfectly normal, and the camp is very highly supervised.” To which I would reply, “That is exactly my concern lest we forget the countless number of children who were sexually assaulted by priests.”

And this, from the American Family Association:

The American Civil Liberties Union is apparently going to court to defend teenagers’ “right” to go naked. According to an Associated Press report, the ACLU is filing a federal lawsuit against the state of Virginia to contest a law that bans nudist summer camps for teenagers. The law, which goes into effect tomorrow, was passed by Virginia lawmakers in response to an annual week-long camp run by the White Tail Park nudist colony. Kent Willis of the ACLU claims the statute was an over-reaction on the part of the state legislators, and that it interferes with families’ rights to make their own lifestyle choices.

Add this support of naturist rights in Virginia to your list of reasons to join and support the ACLU.

The news story is also here, here, here, and here.

Originally published July 6, 2005

UK garden welcomes nude visitors

Come into the garden, Maud (but leave your kit behind)

Coach loads of naturists were last night getting ready to flock to a Wiltshire garden to enjoy its first ever nudist day next month. Hundreds of the enthusiasts will head for Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury for its inaugural ‘Clothes Optional Day’.

The historic gardens, which welcome tens of thousands of visitors every summer, are home to ‘Naked Gardeners’ Ian and Barbara Pollard.

The couple often prune and plant in the altogether, but don a minimum of clothes while the gardens are open to the public.

But now, for the first time, they are opening their gardens for one day to anyone who wants to shed their inhibitions and their clothes and tour the five-acre site.

Read the full story.

Originally published July 6, 2005

Boobs, not bombs

Antiwar protesters go topless in Union Square [Link still valid!]

A dozen antiwar activists from Mendocino County took their tops off in San Francisco’s Union Square shopping district Thursday, using what they said was their best weapon to get the public’s attention

Pretty darn tame stuff… but at least they weren’t arrested.

Originally published July 3, 2005

Boobs at the DOJ

It’s been big news, so you’ve probably read about it already.

According to the BBC report:

A pair of risque Art Deco statues at the US Justice Department has been quietly put back on uncensored display, three years after a mysterious cover-up.

Majesty of Justice and Spirit of Justice depict a partially nude man and a woman with one breast fully exposed.

The two sculptures, in the building’s famous Great Hall, were covered during the tenure of former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a devout Christian.

BBC: Curtains up on risque US statues

Of course, no one could manage to get Ashcroft to come out and take responsibility for the cover-up, which cost taxpayers about $8000.

According to the Washington Post:

Justice officials long insisted that the curtains were put up to improve the room’s use as a television backdrop and that Ashcroft had nothing to do with it.

But because internal e-mails referred to “hiding the statues” — and because the room was rarely used for media events in recent years — the episode was quickly seized upon by pundits and satirists as a symbol of Ashcroft’s allegedly puritanical and censorious bearing

Washington Post: Sculpted Bodies And a Strip Act At Justice Dept.

Reportedly, the current assistant attorney general for administration recommended, after Ashcroft’s departure, that the drapery be dispensed with, and current AG Alberto Gonzales approved the recommendation. After becoming AG in February Gonzales was often asked by reporters whether he planned to make any changes regarding the drapes. But he always evaded the question, saying he had more important issues to deal with. This is understandable, as coming up with legal justifications for the U. S. policies that allow torture and prison camps must be pretty hard work.

Perhaps the most famous photos of the statues involved the Reagan-era AG Edwin Meese, whose most significant contribution to the Republic was his chairmanship of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography. The commission report promptly sank into well-deserved oblivion after Meese was photographed at a press conference in 1986 touting it, with the semi-nude statue of the Spirit of Justice in the background.

Additional reports…

Reuters: here, here, here, and here.

AP: here, here, and here

Blogs: Americablog, Talkleft, Daily Kos

Originally posted June 26, 2005

Naked Rambler

Steve Gough isn’t going to be walking the 874 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats alone. One companion for sure is going to be… his girlfriend, Melanie Roberts. He seems to have been saving this for a surprise. Another friend previously reported (”the librarian”) will also be along. Anyone else who’d like to join the walk is welcome.

Walk without strides
Naked Rambler’s Girlfriend to Join Second Nude Walk
“Naked rambler” takes girlfriend on nude UK walk

It appears this event will be rather well covered by the media, at least in the UK. Steve has been giving a number of interviews to reporters, and many gathered at Land’s End to see him off. Some reporters and camera crews may even tag along.

Originally published June 17, 2005

More about WNBR

The AP news story on WNBR pretty much mentioned only London and Madrid. Here are some alternate references:

Naked cyclists protest car use
Cyclists Ride Naked In London
Cyclists Ride Naked in London Protest
Naked European cyclists protest car use

Unfortunately, it’s typical sloppy MSM journalism. For one thing, the story can’t make up its mind about how many riders there were in London. It leads off mentioning “hundreds”, but then says “about 100”. In fact, the ride organizers have an accurate count. Since the ride started and ended at the Wellington Arch, it was easy to count participants both at the beginning and end. 210 were counted at the start — and 250 at the finish. Meaning that at least 40 joined en route.

But there’s no clear mention at all of WNBR rides in the U. S. It appears that Seattle and San Francisco both had reasonable turn-outs. Report from Seattle says 62-63 riders, despite an early finish due to inclement weather. About 60 riders were also reported in San Francisco.

And if this report from Portland, OR can be believed, there were 200 riders there.

Originally published June 14, 2005